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Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels spring training game at Dodger Stadium

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Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani spoke to the media Monday for the first time since his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, was fired from the Dodgers amidst reports of Mizhurara’s alleged illegal gambling and theft.

Ohtani insisted that he had involvement or knowledge of Mizuhara’s gambling addiction.

“I’ve never bet on baseball or any other sport,” the 29-year-old designated hitter said, “or ever asked anyone to do it on my behalf. I never went through a bookmaker.”

“Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening. In conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

Ohtani also denied knowingly paying off any alleged gambling debts.

“To the representatives in my camp, Ippei told to the media and representatives that I on behalf of a friend paid off debt,” he said. “Upon further questioning, it was revealed that it was actually in fact Ippei who was in debt and told my representatives that I was paying off those debts.

Ohtani said he first heard about Mizuhara’s alleged gambling during a team meeting after the Dodgers played the San Diego Padres in South Korea last week.

“Up until that team meeting, I didn’t know that Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt,” Ohtani said. “Obviously, I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker.”

The Dodgers’ regular season opener is Thursday at Dodgers Stadium.

“I’m looking forward to focusing on the season,” Ohtani said. “I’m glad I had this opportunity to talk. I’m sure there’ll be continuing investigations moving forward.”